Different Times for Parents at School

visitorThere was a time, not too long ago, when parents just stopped by the school office, smiled at the secretary, pinned on a visitor pass, and then walked to their child’s classroom. Once there, another smile through the door glass was an entrance ticket. Visiting and helping in classes was a great way for parents not only to help a teacher, but also, get a first-hand glimpse at school activities, and how their children acted and reacted in that environment. It was also a great way for kids to get another hug during the day, in that place called school. It was a good thing.

Today, visits to classes by outsiders, even parents, have become a security topic. Much of that is because of the vulnerability of schools to acts of terror, such as at Newtown’s Sandy Hook, and elsewhere.

Young parents with their own children, would love to do what their parents did—visit the school and classroom and be a part of that. In most cases, there will be a lot of added procedure to make that happen, if it happens at all. Besides spending more for cameras in parking lots and security personnel to walk school grounds, many districts are doing background checks, including fingerprinting everyone who would like to gain access to a school—and that means parent helpers, too.

As a parent, calmly dealing with the reality of the situation is important. Free access to the classroom whenever you’d like probably isn’t going to happen, but educators can most likely help you figure out a plan that will work. Working something out with the teacher for ongoing, scheduled visits still might be as simple as wearing a badge, or following new school security procedures. Unfortunately, times have changed, so we need to figure out ways to make things as close to normal as possible. Other parents in the same situation may help with the solution. Don’t do it yourself. Keep everyone smiling, so that when they see you at the door, you’ve done what you need to do to gain entrance and ensure that you’re a welcomed VIP (Very Important Parent).

Editor’s Note: We’d love comments about how you and your school district handle parental visits. You may help others.

Ken Royal

Ken Royal is an educator with 34 years of classroom/school and instructional technology teaching experience, as well as a blogger on all things education and education technology. Teaching accomplishments include: 4-time district teacher of the year, Connecticut Middle School Teacher of the Year, as well as Bill and Melinda Gates award for Technology School of Excellence. He is an Education storyteller. Follow @KenRoyal on Twitter.
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